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GMC-Valdosta students overcome obstacles to graduate

(Carol Bowles will graduate with dual Associate Degrees in Sociology and Psychology.)

Graduates Carol Bowles and Casey Irwin have overcome obstacles in their life and they’re now using those obstacles as inspiration to complete their college degree at Georgia Military College’s Valdosta campus.

53-year-old Carol Bowles will graduate on May 26 with dual Associate Degrees in Sociology and Psychology. In 2007, Bowles’ infant daughter, Grace, passed away at two-days old. Grace suffered from hydrocephalus, a condition that causes build-up of fluid on the brain. She also suffered from four different heart problems. Bowles says the therapy her family went through after Grace’s passing helped them to cope with her death. After being a stay-at-home mother for 30-years, Bowles says Grace’s passing inspired her to pursue her education at GMC.

“A couple of years ago my therapist told me that I’ve got to do something to honor Grace’s memory,” said Carol Bowles. “She really encouraged me to go to school and that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I want to eventually become a Grief Counselor to help others who are going through a similar situation.”

Bowles plans to attend Valdosta State University in the Fall to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. She also plans to receive her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling.

(Casey Irwin will graduate with an Associate of Science in Sociology.)

20-year-old Casey Irwin will graduate on May 26 with an Associate of Science in Sociology. She will become the first person in her immediate family to graduate high school and college. At 10-years-old Casey’s home was set on fire and burned down. Her best friend also died in a car accident in the 11th grade. She says it was her faith in God that kept her motivated to reach her goals.

“I knew I wanted to graduate from college when I received an award in the 5th grade for “Most Improved Student,” said Casey Irwin. “I felt like I accomplished something because that year was really hard for me. My house burnt down, my parents divorced, and my Grandfather passed away. That taught me that even through those obstacles I could pursue something greater than myself. From that point forward I put my all into everything that I did.”

Irwin plans to attend Valdosta State University in the Fall to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She also wants to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Work to become a licensed Clinical Social Worker.